From: Noel Turner [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 1:04 PM
Subject: There's always another ride...
Hello Friends and Supporters,
It's been four weeks now since Tahoe and America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (June 3, 2007), and I apologize that this note is now woefully overdue. Things did not go according to plan in Tahoe, and I was sort of waiting for the story to come to an end before I shared it with you all.
Attached is the final cue sheet I carried with me during the weekend, some of the mileage was off in earlier versions I sent out. I did keep this with me during the whole weekend, and greatly appreciated your support. Thank you for helping me raise approximately $5200 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to find a cure for blood-related cancers and improve the quality of patient's lives. Your donations mean so much to so many people; I continue to be touched by the people I meet through LLS and they all emphasize the importance of each and every dollar.
At America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, 2000 TNT cyclists from across the US and Canada along with their sponsors raised $8.5 million to fight cancer!! $8.5 million! It just goes to show how any donation is a huge contribution – as it really adds up fast to become a very big number. To date Team In Training has trained over 325,000 people (most of whom had never ran a race or anything in their lives), which has resulted in $750 million (!!) raised to fight cancer to date by funding needed research, educational activities, and family support programs. Thanks again for your very generous support of my fundraising effort on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
$8.5 million to fight cancer, that's the good news. The bad news is that neither Tom nor I got to ride in the century as planned.
I've reattached my fundraising flyer here, as a reminder of why I started training for this century in the first place. Tom and I signed up together to celebrate our love, friendship and health. While we were in Tahoe, Tom had a little health scare and instead of riding we spent the day in the local hospital.
Apparently, Tom's heart started acting funny on Thursday, the day before we left for Tahoe. He visited the nurse at work but nothing seemed to be seriously out of sorts and he didn't have time to visit an urgent care center for a more in depth exam. Since the feeling passed, Tom didn't say anything and we hopped on our flight Friday morning and were in Tahoe by days end. We woke up the next morning and went for a short ride with our team, to make sure our legs and bikes were ready for the big event on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and a very memorable but short little ride with the team.
On Saturday night, during the TNT pasta party (pep rally), Tom let me know there was something going on with his heart. As he described it, every once in a while his heart would race for no particular reason. At one point he put my hand on his chest so I could feel it, and I freaked out. By the end of the dinner it had happened multiple times, and it didn't seem like it was going to turn itself off this time, as it had apparently done on Thursday (and at other times….Tom kept me in the dark until the last minute).
Seeing as how we had a major endurance event slated for the next day, I wanted Tom to go to the hospital and get his ticker checked out before the ride. So, off to the emergency room we went. After a short wait, they took him back. Five minutes later he popped out to let me and Ben (our TNT staff person) know he would be hooked up to machines for tests for at least four hours. Ben and I went back to the hotel and got things ready for the next day, hoping for the best and trying to use the power of positive thinking.
Hours later (probably about midnight) Tom called to say that he would be staying in the hospital at least overnight, and he would not be able to do the ride. Initially he encouraged me to ride without him, but later I had the distinct impression he wanted me to hang with him.
Truth be told, I had a hard time leaving the hospital even for the four hour test he had taken, and exploded in tears as Ben and I walked back to the car. The situation was all too familiar to another in my life, which did not have a happy ending.
My mother passed away when I was seventeen. At the time, she was on a cross-country trip, helping a friend move from San Diego, CA, to Florida. Somewhere in New Mexico she had something go wrong with her heart. Her friend, Penny, got her to the hospital, where the doctors assured her that everything would be fine. They said they were just going to keep mom for observations and then Penny and mom could be on their way. Penny went out to run a few errands get things ready to resume the trip, and when she got back to the hospital my mom had passed. My mom was all by herself in a small hospital in a small town.
As Ben and I were leaving the hospital, even though we were planning to come back in 4 hours, all I could think was that Tom was by himself in a small hospital in a small town, and he too was having an arrhythmia. Even if Tom had pushed me to ride, I just couldn't handle the thought of being on the wrong side of the lake if anything had happened, and so I spent the day with Tom at the hospital.
The good news is that everything with Tom is fine. Waiting to confirm that is what held up my sending a note to you all, letting you know how Tahoe went. While it was a miserable weekend for us, things turned around pretty quickly once they got him on some medication. Tom had to find a cardiologist and have some additional tests done once we returned home. Basically, he has a second electrical pathway in his heart that is sometimes kicked on. When it runs, the heart takes in the normal signal as well as this second signal, and they seem to have an additive effect and cause his heart to race. The doctors don't know what exactly causes the condition, but it is easily treated through medication or surgery. Given the fact that Tom is young and his condition is well-regulated on the medications, he's not interested in the surgery right now (as all surgery has an element of risk). It is something that may be necessary someday, but not now. For now, Tom's instructions are to stay on his meds and visit his doctor again in one year.
Needless to say, we are relieved. I am also a bit annoyed, as it just amounts to lousy timing really. If it had happened one week earlier or one week later, we would have ridden and had a much different weekend. Oh well!
Now we are looking for a local century in the next few months, so we can make good on our deal with all of our sponsors. We don't want you to feel jipped, after all you did donate to support me to ride a mile or more, so I still owe you. I'll keep you posted and let we know when we find one.
Thanks again for your generous support.
P.S. To those of you who meant to donate – it's not too late!! I can still receive donations at http://www.active.com/donate/tntnca04/NoelBikesTahoe.